After completing a BSc in Applied Biology, Systematics and Macroevolution at UCT (2013), Vincent stayed on to complete his BSc (Hons) on Haemoparasitism in African Penguins (2014). As part of the Panthera’s Project Pardus, he since started his MSc (2015) and upgraded to a PhD (2017) focussed on using forensic phylogenetic tools to determine the spatial extent and geographic origins of illegally traded skins across southern Africa. His work forms part of Panthera’s Furs for Life initiative, provisioning faux leopard Capes to members of the Shembe Church in collaboration with the Peace Parks Foundation and Cartier.
His research spans across southern Africa, where he collaborates with various ongoing research projects, national parks, ecotourism operations, taxidermists and museums to collect genetic reference material for leopards and other large cat species. Working closely with statutory wildlife authorities in the confiscation of illegally traded skins, Panthera hopes to determine the origins of these skins and direct already limited resources to populations which are most at risk.